A diabetes diagnosis is often a wake-up call for older adults who begin to realize the importance of taking care of their overall health. Diabetes can have an impact upon any part of the body since the blood sugar fluctuations that are associated with the condition impact how well oxygen and nutrients are able to reach each important system. Since diabetes is associated with several eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, you need to take these steps to help your loved one maintain their vision.

Encourage Them to Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Your loved one may have certain habits that increase the risk of eye problems due to them having diabetes. For example, smoking restricts blood flow, and this can further increase the possibility of damage occurring to the vessels in their eyes. Additionally, regular exercise has the opposite effect by increasing blood flow and the overall health of the vessels in the eyes. Since your loved one is already changing their diet, you can also suggest quitting smoking and exercising more to further protect their eye health. Your loved one's optometrist may also be able to make suggestions for lifestyle habits that contribute to better eye health such as wearing UV blocking sunglasses when your loved one is outdoors.

Stay on Top of Their Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining blood sugar levels can be tricky, especially for someone who is still learning how to cope with a new diagnosis. However, your loved one should receive a treatment plan from their physician that includes important information such as how to check their blood sugar and take their new medication. Help your loved one set up a schedule that may include reminders to do each part of their treatment plan. Your loved one may also need to learn how to manage their diet to help them keep their blood sugar levels in check. Ask your loved one's eye doctor for recommendations of foods that your loved one can eat that are beneficial for both diabetes and eye health such as fresh vegetables.

Schedule Regular Eye Checkups

An older adult with diabetes should see their eye doctor treatment at least once a year, but they may need to go more often if they already have known eye conditions. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetes increases the risk of developing other eye issues such as cataracts and glaucoma. During these regular visits, your loved one's eye doctor can catch changes early so that your loved one begins diabetic eye treatment as soon as possible. Finding eye problems early helps your loved one avoid the worst effects of diabetes for their vision.

Get more information about diabetic eye treatment by talking to an optometrist in your area.